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Battle Ground farmer goes electric with farming equipment – The Reflector

In a conscious effort to go green, Danny Rowland, the owner of Misty Frog Acres in Battle Ground, is in the process of converting three of his 1975 Power King tractors to all-electric power.
Rowland was inspired out of a pragmatic need to avoid constant repairs.
“There were a lot of different elements that happened at the same time,” said Rowland. “I would stare at my tractors and get frustrated with having to replace these older engines constantly. I started an interest in electric vehicles in general recently, so I looked at (the tractors) and realized they might be a good candidate.”
Rowland said the farm practices regenerative pasture management and agriculture, as they try “to be as friendly to the environment as we can.” Regenerative agriculture is when a farmer puts animals out to pasture at different times to help the ecological system, Rowland said. For example, his Icelandic sheep start in one field, and as they move down the property to another area, the chickens then move into the pasture. Misty Frog also makes compost and uses no-till garden beds. Rowland said he uses the tractors to pull the chickens down the pasture, as the birds live in large steel coops where they have light and water but are protected from predators.
He hopes his move to go electric will inspire other farmers along the way.
“We’ve been in this for eight years now, so what I’d like to do is see farmers of small farms providing for their local economies, as well as being able to make a living at it,” Rowland said. “I think part of that is being carbon-friendly, humanely raising animals, and treating the land and pastures in such a way that you don’t need to use fertilizers.”
With the electric tractors, Rowland said it reduces carbon emissions.
“I believe the calculation is for every gallon of gas, you’re putting almost 20 pounds of CO2 into the air, so that means if you do 20 gallons a month, you’re putting in over 400 pounds of emissions into the air,” he said. “That’s a significant amount, so if we can put a dent in that and try and help do our part on our property for climate change, it’s something. Our big dream is to be able to go out every day and be proud of what we do, raise animals the proper and humane way, not having animals in factory lines and being fed in half-square-foot boxes. It’s just not right.”
Part of the process of converting the tractors includes removing the internal combustion engine, cleaning the oil off, and welding a subframe inside the tractor. Although he enjoys the electric components, Rowland said he likes the older look of the tractors and wanted to keep that intact in an effort to upcycle and recycle. He said it was also more cost-effective than buying another carbon-emitting tractor.
Rowland is also working to create a modular battery bank that goes between the tractors, which will save more money in the process.
“As far as how many batteries you have to buy, that’s also saved by doing it modularly, so I’ll be able to lift one battery pack off one tractor when I’m not using it and put it on another tractor. As far as farmers know, you usually have multiple tractors for multiple jobs,” he said.
One tractor is a loader and backhoe, one is an implement tractor for the fields, and the other tows their dump cart so they can move compost onto their fields for fertilizing the produce.
For the conversion process, Rowland said there’s a steep learning curve because he didn’t have any mechanic experience until he started working on his tractors.
He and his wife originally lived in Portland and moved to Battle Ground to raise their children and “provide an opportunity to learn how to grow our own food.” Rowland taught himself as he went along, learning farming aspects like animal husbandry, maintaining equipment and tilling the fields.
“The learning curve is there, but if you’re willing and are a do-it-yourself kind of person, it’s not impossible,” Rowland said.
Rowland said farming in general is useful for the country as a whole.
“I feel like the small farm has disappeared from the American culture and it really is an important part,” he said. “People used to trade food with each other and support one another. With these monocultures and massive farms, people forgot how to take care of their own food. A lot of people think chicken or eggs come from the grocery store and don’t realize there’s a farmer who’s providing your meals three times a day.”
Although Rowland’s first tractor is fully converted, there is a GoFundMe page to raise funds for his other two tractors that can be found online at gf.me/v/c/37ls/help-us-go-electric-on-the-farm.
To contact Misty Frog Acres and order food or products, call 503-887-2098 or email mistyfro [email protected]
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209 E Main St, Ste 139
Battle Ground, WA 98604
360-687-5151

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